Well, I hardly know where to begin. Some of the good anthologies of supernatural stories have updated versions of Appalachian urban myths. I just read a wonderful one called "Mariah, and other stories of the Supernatural" that even had a new version of "The Vanishing Hitchhiker." I ran into a wonderful tale called 'The Corpse Baby' in another anthology recently. I collect stories about hoop snakes, milk snakes, joint snakes and coach snakes. Ever heard of a "belled buzzard"? Gary Carden
(Events strange and miraculous, where burning bushes speak and angels will give you a lift to church, if you don't have one.)
Disciples At Picnic In Tennessee
"It's unusual to see all twelve disciples at our church picnic," Sam Bellows of the First Baptist Church of Hogshead, Tennessee said. "It's a special day in east Tennessee. And the good thing is they brung their appetites. Mathew and Mark loved fried chicken. John had the potato salad. Simon and his brother Andrew had barbecue ribs. While James son of Zebedee, and his brother John leaned more toward the country ham and baked beans. Philip and Bartholomew sat down to a plate of chicken wings, mashed potatoes, gravy, cornbread and some fruit salad. I never heard so many yummy sounds in my life.
"Thomas and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus stuffed themselves rabbit, corn on the cob and biscuits. They must've each drank a quart of lemonade. Simon the Zealot went for the roast duck and green peas. (more at link)
Over the years, the East Tennessee Bake-Off Contest in Gray Station, Tennessee has brought the best out in all of us. This year was no exception. Though there was one little hitch. A rumor was passed around that Satan was planning to enter the contest.
"Can you confirm that?" asked Midge Farrel. "What are the odds of that happening?"
"It was all in a note passed around at St Andrews Methodist last Sunday," Mary Sweeney said. "It read "Satan is planning to enter this year's Bake-Off. Betsy Caldwell wrote the note and slipped it to Edith Powers who gave it to Pam Jay who gave it to Mildred Somerset who gave to Lilly Adams. And so on and so forth, until the whole of Sullivan County, Washington County and Greene County knew all about it. You could hear their knees knocking."
"Who started that rumor?" Clara Jenkins wanted to know.
There is nothing decent to me about that belled buzzard story - it is written in a very racist way. I certainly will not refer anyone else to read it.
And let's not try to rationalize that it's "historically accurate." It's historically accurate that lead was used for tableware at one time - that doesn't mean we ought to use it currently, now we know it's poisonous.
Racism is just as poisonous for the mind as lead is for the bloodstream.
It's 2010, people. Not 1860. I won't refer anyone to that story, any more than I'd sing "Marching Through Georgia" in front of others. In both cases, I have friends who'd be hurt by those words, and so I won't use them. To me, that's the decent thing to do.